If you are thinking of starting a business in Australia, it is important to understand the various legal requirements you will be subject to. There are a wide variety of regulations and laws that you must comply with, and the legislative bodies that govern these have made it clear that ignorance is not an excuse for failure to comply. In this article, we discuss the most important legal requirements for businesses in Australia. We will also provide some tips on how to stay compliant with the law.

Business Legal Lifecycle educates business owners on their legal risks and makes legal advice accessible to all business owners.

We deliver this through our Legal Risk Assessment , Jeremy Streten’s amazon best selling book The Business Legal Lifecycle (in Australia, United Kingdom and United States), and our Educational Courses.

We are the only legaltech website that actually tells you what you need to do to reduce your legal risks and we empower you with the knowledge and understanding of what you need so you can work with your lawyer with confidence.

Some of the Most Common Legal Requirements for a Business in Australia

NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list and only highlights some of the most common legal requirements for businesses in Australia. Seek professional legal guidance when setting up your business or seeking to ensure your existing business is compliant with all legal requirements.

Business Registrations

Anyone who wants to run a business in Australia needs to comply with some specific registration requirements, which differ depending on the type of business you will be operating.

Depending on your situation, you will need to register:

  • Your business name
  • For taxes (including GST, TFN, PAYG withholding, and ABN) 
  • For various licences and permits 
  • Your company (companies are subject to different laws and must be registered as legal entities)
  • Any trademarks you own
  • A domain name for your website
  • An Australian business number (ABN)

You can find out what registrations your business needs on the business.gov.au website. 

Fair Trading Laws

One of the most important legal requirements for businesses in Australia is to comply with fair trading laws. These laws are designed to protect consumers from unfair or misleading practices. If you engage in any conduct that is deemed to be unfair or misleading, you could face legal action. This includes making false or misleading claims about your products or services. 

Contracts

Another crucial legal requirement for businesses in Australia is to have contracts in place. This includes contracts with your employees, contractors, suppliers, and customers. The contract should set out the terms and conditions of the agreement, and it should be signed by both parties. It is also a good idea to have a lawyer review any contract before either party sign it.

Privacy Laws

Privacy laws are another vital aspect of the legislature to be familiar with as a business owner in Australia. These laws are designed to protect the personal information of individuals. If you collect, use, or disclose personal information, you must comply with the Privacy Act 1988. This includes ensuring that you have a valid reason for collecting any information, and that you take steps to safeguard it from cyberattacks.

Employment Laws

If you employ staff in Australia, you must comply with employment laws, including:

This includes providing full and part-time employees with a written contract of employment (although it is still recommended to also provide casual employees with a contract). 

Anti-Bullying Laws

In Australia, there are also laws that protect employees from bullying. If you allow bullying to take place in your workplace, you could be held liable. This includes if you knew about the bullying and did nothing to stop it. You can find out more about anti-bullying laws on the Fair Work Commission website.

Unfair Dismissal

If you employ staff in Australia, you must also comply with unfair dismissal laws. This means that you can only dismiss an employee for a valid reason, such as misconduct or poor performance. If you dismiss an employee without a valid reason, they may be able to take legal action against you, which can be an arduous and expensive process.

Contractors

If you engage contractors to work for your business, you must also comply with certain legal requirements. This includes ensuring that they are properly licensed and insured. You should also have a written contract in place that sets out the terms of the agreement. Make sure you understand the difference between an employee and a contractor

The franchise code of conduct

If your business is a franchise or you plan on starting a franchise, you must abide by the Franchising Code of Conduct

Intellectual Property

If you have any intellectual property, such as a trademark or copyright, you must also comply with the relevant laws. This includes registering your intellectual property with the relevant authorities. Failure to do so could result in legal action being taken against you.

Importing and Exporting

This includes ensuring that you have a valid licence to do so. You must also declare all goods that you are importing or exporting to the relevant authorities.

Environmental Protections

Environmental protection laws ensure that businesses take steps to minimise your environmental impact. Failure to do so could result in legal action being taken against you by relevant environmental protection agencies.

Marketing Compliance

If you engage in any form of marketing, you must also comply with the relevant laws. This includes ensuring that all claims made in your marketing material are accurate and can be substantiated. You must also ensure that your marketing material does not contain any misleading or deceptive content.

Terms and Conditions

If you sell any products or services, you must have a set of terms and conditions in place, as well as a privacy policy, and returns policy. This includes specifying the price of the product or service, as well as the terms of delivery. You must also ensure that your terms and conditions are fair and comply with the law. Failure to do so could result in legal action being taken against you.

We Can Help You with the Legislative Requirements for Your Business

Remember— these are just some of the legal considerations businesses must address when operating in Australia. To keep your business safe from legal trouble, your best bet is to work with professionals.

Business Legal Lifecycle is the only legaltech website that keeps you fully informed on what you need to do to reduce your legal risk, empowering you with the knowledge to work with your lawyer and have the confidence to run a successful business.

Take a look at our Legal Risk Assessment , Jeremy Streten’s amazon best selling book The Business Legal Lifecycle (in Australia, United Kingdom and United States), and our Educational Courses.

In this article, we look at how to mitigate some common legal risks businesses face. 

The success and growth of your business depend on being on the right side of the law. If your business is not compliant with official regulations, it may face litigation.

Consequently, this could cause your organisation to spend a lot of time and money fighting legal battles and paying heavy fines. That is why as a business owner, it is vital to prioritise the implementation of an effective legal risk management system. 

Business Legal Lifecycle educates business owners on their legal risks and makes legal advice accessible to all business owners. Take our legal risk assessments test to discover your legal risks. 

Common Legal Risks for Businesses

Contract Risks

An organisation might face a contractual legal risk when it breaches a contract it entered. Common contract risks are:

  • Failure to review a contract, resulting in misinterpretations of its enforcement
  • Agreeing to certain indemnities that might lead to unexpected liabilities
  • Regulatory risks, where a contract is developed but doesn’t meet local legislation 
  • Failure to meet legal deadlines 
  • Inaccurate representation of products or services

A contract management system will help to ensure your contracts are managed effectively and that they are enforced in a way to minimise legal risk. 

Infringement of Intellectual Property

An organisation could face a lawsuit for infringing on other businesses’ intellectual property. In most cases, this involves stealing or copying another company’s intangible assets, accidentally or otherwise. These intangible assets include trade secrets/copyright materials and trademarks.

Violation of Employment Laws

There are many employment laws, and they primarily serve the purpose of safeguarding the rights of employees. Specifically, they ensure that employees do not experience wrongful termination, harassment, or any form of discrimination in the workplace. As such, there could be an impending lawsuit if a business owner breaks or gives room for others to violate these employment laws. These cases can be lengthy and expensive, not to mention they will harm a company’s brand. 

Product Liability

Product liability comes into play when a company’s product or service endangers or causes harm to customers – something we all want to avoid. However, it is important to note that federal and state laws are stringent against selling products or services capable of endangering customers.

Based on this, customers negatively affected by a product or service can file a lawsuit against the company. This can result in the company paying for damages if the affected customers can successfully convince the court.

Violation of Environmental laws

It is a legal duty for businesses to comply with environmental laws. These laws help prevent actions that threaten our ecosystem. 

Some businesses that are more susceptible to changes and updates in environmental laws include oil refineries, chemical manufacturing companies, etc. Breaking an environmental statute can lead to heavy fines and loss of public support as the environment is a hot topic in today’s climate so be sure to do your research and talk to a specialist in this area.

Violation of Tax Laws

Tax law violation is one of the most common legal risks that businesses face. Tax law is incredibly complex, and as such, figuring out all the obligations your business is subject to can be overwhelming and easy to misinterpret. 

Tax-related offences can attract severe penalties, which include heavy fines or even prison sentences, so be sure to do your research and talk to your accountant or a specialist tax lawyer. 

6 ways to mitigate legal risks for your business

If you need help mitigating legal risk for your business, then take our legal risks assessment test today. 

#1. Ensure you understand the contracts you sign 

As a business owner, you must only agree to contracts you genuinely understand. This might require hiring a legal team to review the agreement for you. 

There are various other steps that you can take to avoid any inadvertent contract breaches, such as: 

  • Automation of workflows
  • Reminders for milestones and time-sensitive obligations
  • Regulation of who has access to bolster security
  • Encryption of data
  • Keeping track of changes to documents 
  • Using secure e-signature systems 

#2. Keeping On Top of New and Changing Regulations

Staying up to date with new or updated regulations and legislation can help avoid serious legal risks for you and your business. 

#3. Ensuring Proper Business Conduct

Making your business’s codes of conduct and ethics known to your employees encourages proper business conduct. For example, you can achieve this by creating an employee handbook that explains your company’s rules and policies. Doing this should reduce discrimination, harassment, and other such issues to their bare minimum. 

#4. Compliance with Environmental Laws

The best way to avoid environmental lawsuits is by implementing a detailed management plan that helps you abide by environmental laws. 

#5. Be Sure to Abide by All Relevant Tax Laws

The best way to avoid committing tax-related offences is to track your business’s finances and accurately file your tax returns when due. Consequently, this may demand hiring a professional accountant.

#6. Hire a Legal Team

Hiring a legal team is one of the most effective means of mitigating legal risks. A legal team can help notify you of any threats before they occur and can help guarantee that your business meets all current legal requirements. 

Does Your Business Need Help Minimising Legal Risk?

Having the proper knowledge of managing and mitigating legal risks is crucial to the success of your business. This is why it is essential to get the right advice. 

Founded in 2016 by Jeremy Streten, Business Legal Lifecycle was initially developed out of Jeremy’s frustration with the law being reactive and costing business owners millions of dollars. This frustration led to the development of the Business Legal Lifecycle concept to allow business owners to be more proactive in their approach to legal risks.

Now expanded to the United States and United Kingdom, the Business Legal Lifecycle has the solutions to ensure that you know the legal risks in your business.

We help businesses reduce their legal risks in plain English so that it is easy to understand.

If you want to mitigate legal risk for your business, take our legal risks assessment test today. 

Are you using QR Codes in your business? Do you know the rules around their use? Have you considered if you are infringing on any laws in using a QR code.

What are the legal consequences of using a QR Code?

The early 2020’s has seen the rise of QR codes as a device used by many businesses and people in their daily lives. You could almost say that they have become ubiquitous in daily life. So much so that few people have considered the legal ramifications of using QR codes. In this article we will outline some of the concerns and what you should check out if you want to use QR codes.

What is a QR Code?

It is widely believed that the QR code system was invented by Masahiro Hara in 1994 from the Japanese company Denso Wave. They work through a picture code that directs the user to a specific website. There are a variety of different uses for QR codes and in 2015 it was even provided with its own International Standards Organisation standard “ISO/IEC 18004:2015”.

What should you be concerned about?

Recently a US company filed a lawsuit alleging breach of a patent that it owns relating to the use of QR codes. See here for more about that specific case. Even if the litigation succeeds it doesn’t stop people using QR codes, rather it just prevents the use of them in certain circumstances. What this outlines though is something that a lot of businesses need to be aware of regarding using what they see as open source technology without understanding the legal risks. Generally QR codes can be used by anyone however you need to be aware of patents that might exist.

Patents are generally understood to be a right that is granted to someone to exclusive use of a device, substance, method or process that is new, inventive and useful. There are over 15 million registered around the world so it is impossible to know all of the different devices, substances, methods and processes that are protected by patents.  Different patents will apply in different countries and some will even cover multiple countries around the world.

No matter what devices, substances, methods and processes that you use in your business you need to ensure that you do your best to not breach a patent. This will usually happen without your knowledge so you need to keep up to date with the rules and news surrounding various areas of your business. We are not suggesting that you ask a patent lawyer to look at every device, substance, method and process that you use in your business as that is impractical. Just be aware that these problems could arise and investigate them if you are concerned.

How does the Business Legal Lifecycle work?

Unknown issues relating to QR codes is just one area of the law that you may not be aware of impacting your business. Whilst this is a novel area there are many risks in a business that you can resolve if you take a proactive approach to the legal risks in your business. That is why we created our Legal Risk Assessment. To help you to spot the legal risks in your business.

The assessment will actually save you money in the long term by empowering you with the confidence and knowledge to prevent the legal risks in your business. You can then go to your lawyer to reduce your legal risks to prevent legal risks within their business and prevent so many problems that commonly afflict small to medium sized businesses.

Get your Business Legal Lifecycle Legal Risk Assessment by clicking below.

Have you heard about the recent US lawsuit involving QR codes? Are you using QR Codes in your business? Do you know the rules around their use? Have you considered if you are infringing on any laws in using a QR code? 

Recent QR Code Case

In 2022, US company Neomedia filed a lawsuit in a US court claiming an infringement of its patent in a specific use of QR codes. Many people are concerned about what this means for them using QR codes in their business.

What is a QR Code?

It is widely believed that the QR code system was invented by Masahiro Hara in 1994 from the Japanese company Denso Wave. They work through a picture code that directs the user to a specific website. There are a variety of different uses for QR codes and in 2015 it was even provided with its own International Standards Organisation standard “ISO/IEC 18004:2015”.

What is the lawsuit about?

The lawsuit refers to US Patents 6,199,048 and 8,131,597 which essentially grant Neomedia a patent to use a QR code to direct you to a shortcode such as google’s shortcode system. Most businesses use these codes to help track the behaviour of their users through the internet. Essentially Neomedia is claiming damages for its loss because it owns the patent and thus they must agree to using the process.

Importantly the lawsuit does not preclude the use of QR codes generally and QR codes can be used by anyone however you need to be aware of patents that might exist. At the time of writing this article the lawsuit has not finalised and we will update this article when a decision is reached or the matter is settled.

What is a patent?

Patents are generally understood to be a right that is granted to someone to exclusive use of a device, substance, method or process that is new, inventive and useful. There are over 15 million registered around the world so it is impossible to know all of the different devices, substances, methods and processes that are protected by patents.  Different patents will apply in different countries and some will even cover multiple countries around the world.

What should you do?

The lawsuit alleges a very specific use of a QR code and whilst the case is yet to be decided it appears clear that the best course of action is to use QR codes to direct users to your website directly and not through a shortcode.  You should speak to your website administrator to ensure that they put in place other ways to track your users behaviour.

How does the Business Legal Lifecycle work?

Unknown issues relating to QR codes is just one area of the law that you may not be aware of impacting your business. Whilst this is a novel area there are many risks in a business that you can resolve if you take a proactive approach to the legal risks in your business. That is why we created our Legal Risk Assessment. To help you to spot the legal risks in your business.

The assessment will actually save you money in the long term by empowering you with the confidence and knowledge to prevent the legal risks in your business. You can then go to your lawyer to reduce your legal risks to prevent legal risks and so many problems that commonly afflict small to medium sized businesses.

Get your Business Legal Lifecycle Legal Risk Assessment by clicking below.

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